May 21, 2010

REVIEW: Viaje Skull and Bones

I was very lucky to get my hands on a few of today's review cigar. The Viaje Skull and Bones is a limited release stick that came quickly to shops after the release of the popular Viaje Reserva. This cigar, in size, is exactly what I am into these days. It's pretty much a petit robusto. I've really been enjoying petit robustos, and petit cigars in general, so when I saw the size that this stick was to be released in, I was all over it. The problem? This was limited to a production run of 150 boxes of 25 cigars, so finding some could have been a problem. Luckily for me, Dan (NHCDAN on twitter) at New Havana Cigars got a shipment (very small mind you and they are all gone, so please don't call about them) and hooked me up with a chance to get some. I don't know if I'll ever see these cigars again, so was looking forward to smoking one.

Due to the size of this cigar, this review is only in two parts instead of the traditional thirds. On with the show.

Vitola: "Daisy Cutter"
Length: 4
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Nicaragua Criollo
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $9 each
Smoking Location: My back deck
Beverage: water

The Viaje Skull and Bones is a awesome looking stick. Yes, it does seem weird to smoke something that has the image of a skull and bones on it, but wow, what a nice departure from tradition cigar bands. The wrapper on my "Daisy Cutter vitola" (again a great name departure from the norm) is very smooth and oily. I did see quite a few veins running around the wrapper, but these had been expertly smoothed down and appeared would have no effect on the burn. The cigar feels surprisingly hefty for it's size and when squeezed is hard as a rock. The pre-lit aroma was of strong wood scents, mixed in with what I would describe as a raisin smell. After clipping the triple cap, the cold draw was tight and tasted sweet with strong woodsiness flavors. I was worried that this stick might be a little plugged due to the tight draw, but I pinched it a bit more and the draw loosened nicely.

First Half
I lit my Viaje Skull and Bones with a triple flame torch and the cigar roared out of the gate. From the very first puff, I was hit hard with thick, smooth, and extremely rich smoke...the kind of smoke that takes over your palate and says yup, I'm the star in this show. I don't think I can put into words just how rich this cigar started out, but if you get the chance to smoke one, you'll know exactly what I mean. In conjunction with the rich smoke, the initial flavors were also very powerful. On the front of the flavor profile, I was getting a strong woodsy taste. Not at all a harsh camp fire kind of wood, but more a sweet sassafras or oak taste. On the finish, and especially through the nose, there was a dominate black pepper flavor. The finish flavor was long-lasting and remained noticeable the entire time between draws. The burn did start a little wavy, but corrected itself without having to do any touch ups. The ash (as you can see in the picture) held on all the way to the band. These cigars are expertly constructed.

Second Half and Final Thoughts

The second half of my Viaje Skull and Bones was just as smooth and rich as the first half, but brought on a small evolution of the flavors. The wood notes I was getting in the first half turned into a strong cedar wood taste and the black pepper faded off some to make room for powerful coffee and cream. The closer I got to the nub of the cigar, the more and more the coffee and cream flavors ramped up; so much so that in the last few puffs I took that was all I was tasting. And what a awesome taste it was. The burn and construction were the same in the second half as it was the first half and left nothing to be desired. The finish on the smoke was not as long as the first half, and the cigar did get a little hot, but that heat only seemed to intensify the coffee flavors more.

My final thoughts on the Viaje Skull and Bones are that this cigar is absolute winner. The powerful richness and smoothness of the smoke mixed in with the strong flavors really make this stick a enjoyable experience from start to finish. Speaking of power, this review would not be complete without a quote that is printed on the box. "BE WARNED" is burned into the bottom of each box of  Viaje Skull and Bones and there is a reason. This is a full strength cigar not to be taken lightly. I had eaten a full meal before I smoked this stick, and the nicotine still had my heart racing. I am not normally a fan of all-out full strength cigars, but this one hit it right for me in that profile. With that said, this is not a cigar for amateur smokers. BE WARNED!

Would I buy it again? Here is the problem. I would by this cigar again in a second, but as far as I heard, they have all been sold. If you can find a fellow BOTL willing to part with some, don't hesitate to take them up on the offer. Or you can send them my way...

Would I buy a box? This is a box worthy stick in my opinion, but see my comments above about availability.



  1. Great review man, I'd love to stumble into a few of these. Awesome looking ash!

  2. Thanks Tony,

    Ya I'd love to find some more also. Hopefully they make it a full release.


  3. Very cool branding -- I agree with you that it's a nice change from traditional cigar bands. Great review!

  4. Great looking burn. Sounds like my kinda cigar. I'll keep these on my radar just in case I stumble across one.